Vancouver is coming off a disastrous year, but definitely has the talent to bounce back. The forward group has everything you could want, with much more depth thanks to offseason additions. Garland and Dickinson join to bolster the top 9, while Hoglander and Podkolzin look to continue growing their games, potentially flourishing alongside legitimate talents in Pettersson, Boeser, Miller, and Horvat. Motte and Pearson are solid options as the forward group rounds out.
The blueline is the real question mark for the Canucks. Hughes is great, obviously he missed the underrated play of Tanev last season, but I see no reason to be concerned when it comes to his abilities. Ekman-Larsson definitely needed a change of scenery, as his stock and play fell below his cap hit for the Coyotes, and with Myers, represent the main reason the blueline in Vancouver is thought of as both expensive and ineffective. Stranger things have happened, and getting good play from either or both will vastly increase the performance of the team. I always have thought Poolman was sneaky effective, as he joins Schenn and Hamonic in pursuit of complimentary spots beside the offensively minded trio of Hughes, OEL, and Myers. Jack Rathbone also has offensive skills, and looks poised to run with a regular spot this season. Juulson and Keeper are a bit older, in terms of prospects, but might deserve a look at some point as well.
Demko and Halak as a tandem is both effective and affordable, and for all the grief GM Benning may or may not deserve, some credit is due in this respect. I haven’t seen a lot of his work from last season, but Demko has long shown flashes of being a top tier netminder, especially when he is in his zone. Halak of course has been the standard as a 1B (~35 game starter) and a 1 year deal at $1.5 million is great value.
With the likes of Hoglander and Podkolzin in the NHL already, there is not much to be excited about in the prospect pool outside of Jett Woo on defence and Michael DiPietro in net. With so many good young players this shouldn’t be a huge concern, but I’d consider trading any more picks at this point an exercise in digging up.
Lineup via dailyfaceoff